6 Must-Know Blog Trends for Your Brand (Part Two)
And, welcome back! The last time you visited, you probably read our top four benefits of working with sponsored bloggers. If you haven't, find a link to it at the end of this post.
Want to take your blogger-brand relationships to the next level? Here are six trends we’ve identified that will ensure your next sponsored blogger campaign is set up for success!
Trend #1: Blogging is now a full-time job.
According to a recent Maxwell PR study (see infographic below), 35 percent of top food bloggers reported spending more than 35 hours per week on blogging and 43 percent estimated that they’ll prepare more than 20 sponsored blog posts in 2016. In short, blogging may not just be a hobby - it can be a livelihood.
- Tip: Build relationships and treat bloggers just as you would any other client or vendor. Respect their pricing and the time it takes for them to create great content.
Trend #2: Bloggers maintain bonafide editorial calendars and plan content well in advance.
Just like magazines and other traditional media, bloggers nowadays are planning their posting schedules well in advance of publish dates. In fact, some of the bloggers our PR agency works with are planning editorial content anywhere from a few weeks to a few months in advance.
- Tip: Plan at least six weeks prior to publication. To adhere to bloggers’ editorial calendars, brands are best suited planning to send product, brand messaging and any photo assets needed to complete a post a good month or two in advance. This will allow the blogger enough time (especially in the case of food bloggers who kitchen test new recipes) to develop and test content for the post in addition to taking and editing photos.
- Bonus Tip: Be flexible! Close to 40 percent of bloggers surveyed in the Maxwell study work with 10+ brands a year, which means they have multiple deadlines. Just as in our own schedules, delays may come up and publishing dates may need to be shifted a day or two. If there is no wiggle room on a posting date, make sure that’s outlined in your sponsored blogger’s contract. (Yes, sponsored bloggers we work with have quite detailed contracts, outlining pricing per post - ranging anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars per post - type of product used, and even the number of social shares required to promote their post.)
Trend #3: Tightened non-compete timeframes are the new reality.
When brands work with sponsored bloggers, they often negotiate that the blogger not work with competitive brands. For example, if a brand like Coke were working with a sponsored blogger, they wouldn’t want them to promote its products one day and those of its competitors, such as Pepsi, the next.
That non-compete timeframe during which the blogger cannot enter into another contract with a direct competitor of that brand, is increasingly limited in scope. They are still important to brands, but have become a negotiating chip for bloggers.
- Tip: To eliminate any surprises, make sure to discuss non-compete timeframes, that your brand is comfortable offering to the blogger during your initial introduction via phone or email. This non-compete should be based on your brand’s comfort level and could include a 30-day non-compete that covers only direct competitors' products or up to a three-month compete that covers all similar types of products in your industry. Either way, this introduction serves as a good time to learn if the blogger is participating in any current sponsorships with your brand’s competitors that could limit or conflict with your partnership.
Trend #4: Federal regulation of sponsored blog content is not going away.
One very important fact is bloggers are required by the Federal Trade Commission to reveal to readers they are being compensated for their work. In June of 2015, the FTC updated the requirements for bloggers to “include more detailed rules pertaining to social media and sponsored posts,” according to an article in Women’s Wear Daily, detailing the lucrative world of fashion blogging. This level of transparency allows brands that are interested in working with the blogger to see first-hand who they may be partnering with and also lets readers know who is sponsoring (paying) for the content.
- Tip: Also in the contract, be sure to remind bloggers they are required to comply with federal regulations - and, as a brand, stay on top of future changes in regulations.
Trend #5: Bloggers promote their own content on social more than ever!
Social media is a blogger’s best friend. From the personal peek into their lives via Instagram or through the content-sharing haven of Pinterest, bloggers use social channels to connect with readers and followers outside of their blogs - and to drive traffic to their own content. It’s common for food bloggers especially to have Pinterest followings that top the tens of thousands. Brands have an opportunity to engage with consumers with substantial reach not found through additional marketing efforts.
- Tip: Encourage social sharing of your branded content by inviting bloggers to be a part of your brand’s social conversation through tagging in posts, group boards on Pinterest and re-sharing of their content. Consider what type of content you are sponsoring - is it sharable? Remember, every social share is another opportunity for a consumer to see or interact with your brand.
Trend #6: As bloggers’ unique visitors continue to rise, so will their prices.
Just as with every other business, as demand rises so will cost. While there is no particular price scale that determines price per post, bloggers are using a number of metrics to justify their pricing. In our experience, that includes pricing based upon: unique visitors, monthly page views, social following and features about their blog on prominent websites or TV shows.
- Tip: Contract right away and build relationships with burgeoning bloggers. If your sponsored blogger is mentioned on Huffington Post or on a popular TV food show, be prepared for his or her price to go up! Be on the lookout for fresh or up-and-coming blog talent with a goal of maintaining a roster of legacy bloggers who have previously worked with your brand. Bloggers are looking to build long-term partnerships with brands, which could also build loyalty for your brand with their readers over time.
If you’re looking for more information on how your brand could benefit from partnering with sponsored bloggers in 2016, please reach out to Maccabee. If you missed out on the first post, "Your Top Four Benefits of Working with Sponsored Bloggers (Part 1)" in our sponsored blogging series view it here.
Lelia Erickson is a former Maccabeast.